Arkansas DOC Adds Beds, Re-Entry Programs to Ease Overcrowding

By Jessie Fetterling
The Arkansas Department of Correction has started on Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s $33 million plan to address prison overcrowding in the state. While the plan does not involve building a new prison, it does involve adding prison beds, hiring new parole and probation officers, and investing in re-entry and alternative sentencing programs.

Macon County Courthouse Jail Project Breaks Ground

By Jessie Fetterling
A groundbreaking ceremony was held on May 26 for the new Macon County Courthouse and Jail project. During the ceremony, three county commissioners took turns discussing the courthouse jail project, which they began planning several years ago.

Texas Lawmakers Support More In-Person Inmate Visitation

Texas state lawmakers in both the House and Senate voted on Monday in support of House Bill 549, requiring that county jails provide inmates with greater access to in-person visitation. The bill, brought by Rep. Eric Johnson (D-Dallas) will require county jails to make at least two, 20-minute, in-person visits available to inmates each week.

Bi-County Jail Breaks Ground in Bismarck

By Jessie Fetterling
Construction broke ground on the combined jail for Burleigh and Morton counties to be built in southeast Bismarck, and it is slated for completion in January 2017. Locally based UBL Design Group, in cooperation with New York-based Venture Architects, revealed plans for the new 476-bed facility last year. Locally based Comstock Construction is serving as the main contractor on the project.

Crawford County Jail Designed to Meet Growing Population

By Jessie Fetterling
Construction broke ground earlier this month on the new Crawford County jail in Van Buren. The nearly $20 million facility will be approximately 64,000 square feet and will include a 307-bed jail, the sheriff’s office, 911 dispatching center and arraignment court with the ability to add a full justice center in the future. The new jail will be built on a site at the edge of Van Buren off of U.S. Route 64.

Iowa Agrees to Pay Prison Contractor $7 Million

The Iowa State Appeal Board finally agreed to pay $7 million more to the general contractor to resolve a dispute that delayed the opening of the new maximum-security prison in Fort Madison.

Construction Breaks Ground on Tulsa Jail Expansion

By Jessie Fetterling
Construction on the 43,000-square-foot expansion of the Tulsa County Jail, formally known as the David L. Moss Criminal Justice Center, begins this month, following a groundbreaking ceremony for the project that occurred on April 20. The new addition will include a mental health unit containing two pods along the north side of the site and a general population unit containing two pods extending to the northwest. Dewberry, with offices in Tulsa, designed the expansion.

Shawnee County Jail to Get New Kitchen

Shawnee County Commissioners approved $3.6 million for the Shawnee County Corrections Department to build a new kitchen at the Shawnee County Jail in Topeka.

Bentonville to Expand Prison Facility

Benton County Officials in Bentonville have been researching the potential expansion of their county correctional facility.

Douglas County Studies How to Help Mentally Ill Inmates

By Daniel R. Rowe
Like many cities and counties, Douglas County, Kan., has seen an uptick in the number of people with mental health conditions arriving at the county jail.